Christ Has Entered into His Reign

May 13, 2018 in Ascension Sunday, Bible - OT - Psalms, Easter, King Jesus, Meditations

Psalm 110 (NKJV)
A Psalm of David. 1 The LORD said to my Lord,“Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” 2 The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies!

Today is Ascension Sunday. Forty days after rising from the dead, forty days after Easter, Jesus ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. So what is the significance of this?

Oft times in history, the coronation of kings was followed by a time of travel. The new king would journey throughout his kingdom and show himself to his people. This was an opportunity for the people to see the new king, pledge allegiance to him, and rejoice in his coronation. But eventually the circuit would come to an end. The king would return to his palace, take his seat on his throne, and begin to rule.

It is this narrative that ties Easter and Ascension together. In the NT, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is understood as coronation day. When Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, he rose as God’s triumphant King; the ruler over all the kings of the earth. “You are my son,” God declares in Psalm 2, “Today I have begotten you.” That “today” is the day of Jesus’ resurrection (cf. Acts 2:36; 13:30-33), the day God crowned Jesus King.

For the next 40 days Jesus showed himself to his people. They saw the new King in his glory, pledged their allegiance to him, and rejoiced in his coronation. But eventually this time came to an end. Jesus took his seat on his throne and began to rule: He ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God Almighty, there to rule until all his enemies are subdued beneath his feet. The Father said to Jesus, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.”

And it is sitting on the throne of His father David, sitting at the right hand of God Almighty, that Jesus continues to reign even now and will continue until he has subdued all his enemies beneath his feet. The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies! Jesus is Lord! Jesus reigns! Let the earth be glad and the righteous rejoice! And so we are instructed to pray that God’s kingdom come, his will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. We are told to pray for the expansion of Jesus’ rule, the full manifestation of His kingship in human history. For as Jesus’ kingship becomes increasingly acknowledged, light and life come in ever greater degrees.

And because Jesus is Lord, because Jesus is God’s anointed king, the only way that we can come to God is by pledging our loyalty to Jesus. He who honors the Son, honors the Father; he who does not honor the Son, does not honor the Father who sent him. This morning we have been summoned into the presence of God Almighty; as you are able, let us kneel as we enter his presence and pledge our allegiance to His Son Jesus.

Ascension Sunday

May 28, 2017 in Ascension Sunday, Bible - OT - Daniel, King Jesus, Meditations, Politics
Daniel 7:13-14 (NKJV)
13
“I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.
Today is Ascension Sunday. On this day we celebrate the moment when the Lord Jesus Christ, having taught the disciples for 40 days following His resurrection, ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. Ascension Day was actually last Thursday – 40 days since Easter. However, we haven’t yet reached the point of celebrating Ascension Day during the week and so we celebrate it on the Sunday following.
But why celebrate this event at all? What’s so important about the Ascension? The prophet Daniel helps us answer these questions. In chapter 7 Daniel has a vision of various animals or beasts that would rule the kingdoms of the earth in the centuries to come: a lion with eagle’s wings; a bear with three ribs in its mouth; a leopard with four wings; and, finally, a great beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong, having iron teeth with which it devoured all other kingdoms. Daniel’s visions clearly anticipated the rise of the Babylonian, Persian, Macedonian, and Roman Empires.
As Daniel was meditating on these visions and wondering what they might mean, something else happened. Suddenly the Son of Man, a human figure not an animal or beastly figure, appeared. (You may recall that this title “Son of Man” was Jesus’ favorite.) This Son of Man came up to the Ancient of Days (note that this is not describing the Second Coming, but the Ascension); He comes up to the Ancient of Days, the Ruler over all earthly kingdoms, and what happens? The Ancient of Days gave the Son of Man dominion, glory, and a kingdom – in other words, He transferred power from the animal kingdoms to the Son of Man.

So here’s the question: power over what? Over just the land of Israel? Over just the people of God? No. The Ancient of Days makes the Son of Man Ruler over all the nations of the earth. Listen to Daniel: “Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.” The dominion that the beastly kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, Macedonia, and Rome had exercised over the earth is replaced with the rule of the Son of Man.
Brothers and sisters, Jesus reigns, let the earth be glad! Jesus reigns, let the nations rejoice! The rule of the beasts of the earth, the governmental principle that might makes right, has come to an end to be replaced by the rule of the Son of Man and the exaltation of justice. “His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.” And the first thing He did, on the day of Pentecost, was pour out His Spirit upon His people to enable them to carry the message of His reign throughout the earth.

Reminded that Jesus is Lord of all, Ruler of all, and that it is Him that all men, nations, and languages are to serve, that it is Him we are to proclaim as King of kings and Lord of lords, let us confess that our nation refuses to honor Him and that we Christians frequently fail to bear witness to Him. Let us kneel as we confess.

Ascension Sunday 2015

May 17, 2015 in Ascension Sunday, Bible - NT - Acts, Bible - OT - Psalms, King Jesus, Meditations, Politics, Resurrection
Psalm 110 (NKJV)
A Psalm of David. 1 The LORD said to my Lord,“Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” 2 The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies!
Today is Ascension Sunday. Forty days after rising from the dead, forty days after Easter, Jesus ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. What is the significance of this?
Oft times in history, the coronation of kings was followed by a time of travel – the new king would journey throughout his kingdom and show himself to his people. It was an opportunity for the people to see the new king, pledge allegiance to him, and rejoice in his coronation. But eventually the circuit would come to an end and the king would return to his palace, take his seat on his throne and begin to rule.
It is this narrative that ties Easter and Ascension together. In the NT, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is understood as coronation day. When Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, he rose as God’s triumphant King; the ruler over all the kings of the earth. “You are my son,” God declares in Psalm 2, “Today I have begotten you.” And that “today”, Peter declares in Acts 2, is the day of Jesus’ resurrection, the day God crowned Jesus King.
For the next 40 days Jesus showed himself to his people. It was an opportunity for them to see the new king in his glory, to pledge their allegiance to him, and to rejoice in his coronation. But eventually this time came to an end and Jesus took his seat on his throne and began to rule – He ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God Almighty, there to rule until all his enemies are subdued beneath his feet. The Father said to Jesus, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.”
And it is sitting on the throne of His father David, sitting at the right hand of God Almighty, that Jesus continues to reign even now and will continue until he has subdued all his enemies beneath his feet. Jesus is Lord! Jesus reigns! Let the earth be glad and the righteous rejoice! And so we are instructed to pray that God’s kingdom come, his will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. We are told to pray for the expansion of Jesus’ rule, the full manifestation of His kingship in human history. For as Jesus’ kingship becomes increasingly acknowledged, light and life come in ever greater degrees.

And because Jesus is Lord, because Jesus is God’s anointed king, the only way that we can come to God is by pledging our loyalty to Jesus. He who honors the Son, honors the Father; he who does not honor the Son, does not honor the Father who sent him. This morning we have been summoned into the presence of God Almighty; let us kneel as we enter his presence and pledge our allegiance through His Son Jesus.

Christ, the Center of Time

December 14, 2014 in Ascension Sunday, Bible - NT - Colossians, Christmas, Church Calendar, Easter, Ecclesiology, Good Friday, King Jesus, Liturgy, Meditations, Pentecost
Colossians 3:17 (NKJV)
17
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
If you’ve been at Trinity long, you’ve no doubt discovered that we utilize the Church calendar to organize our year. Our songs, our Scripture readings, our confessions, our meditation, and even sometimes our sermons are geared to the Church Calendar. Given that following the Church Calendar is not a matter of necessity, why have our elders decided to do so? What’s the point?
As we consider that question, consider what each phase of the church year does: it places Christ and His life and work at the center of all reality. It orients the entire year around the life of Christ: Advent – awaiting His birth; Christmas – celebrating His birth; Epiphany – celebrating His revelation as Messiah to the Magi and in his baptism; Lent – remembering His suffering on our behalf; Passion week – remembering His final week of challenge, betrayal, death, burial, and glorious resurrection; Ascension – celebrating His enthronement at God’s right hand as King of kings and Lord of lords; Pentecost – celebrating the outpouring of the Spirit by our Risen and Exalted Lord. Between Pentecost and Advent? Celebrating the work of Christ by the power of His Spirit throughout the course of history. The Church Calendar put Jesus at the center of our lives.
So why is this valuable? Well note Paul’s command today: So whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Whatever you do – whether eating or drinking or sleeping or waking; whether living in the winter or summer; in the fall or the spring. Do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus. The Church Calendar helps us fulfill this command by putting Jesus exactly where He belongs – at the center of our Church life. And this, of course, reminds each of us to put Jesus at the center of our own life.
But often we are consumed with other things. We want to push Jesus to the margins of our lives; oh, we’ll give Him a bit of attention on Sunday but the rest of the week? That’s ours. But Jesus demands all our time – each day, each hour, each minute, each second. He is the Sovereign Lord and all we are and do is to be offered up in praise to Him.
So what of you? Has Christ been at the center of your life this week? Fathers, have you led your family to Christ this week, worshiping and praying and speaking together of Christ’s work in your home? Christians, have you displayed Christ this week, manifesting His character in your life and speaking His praises with your lips? Or have you put your own self at the center of your calendar?

Reminded this morning that whatever we do, in word or in deed, is to be done in the Name of Christ to the glory and praise of God, let us confess that we often do things and speak things in our own name. And as we confess, let us kneel before the Lord.

The Ascension of Jesus

June 1, 2014 in Ascension Sunday, Bible - OT - Psalms, Church Calendar, Easter, King Jesus, Meditations, Resurrection
Psalm 110 (NKJV)
A Psalm of David. 1 The LORD said to my Lord,“Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” 2 The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies!
Today is Ascension Sunday. Forty days after rising from the dead, forty days after Easter, Jesus ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. What is the significance of this?
Oft times in history, the coronation of kings was followed by a time of travel – the new king would journey throughout his kingdom and show himself to his people. It was an opportunity for the people to see the new king, pledge allegiance to him, and rejoice in his coronation. But eventually the circuit would come to an end and the king would return to his palace, take his seat on his throne and begin to rule.
It is this narrative that ties Easter and Ascension together. In the NT, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is understood as coronation day. When Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, he rose as God’s triumphant King; the ruler over all the kings of the earth. “You are my son,” God declares in Psalm 2, “Today I have begotten you.” And that “today”, Peter declares in Acts 2, is the day of Jesus’ resurrection, the day God crowned Jesus King.
For the next 40 days Jesus showed himself to his people. It was an opportunity for them to see the new king in his glory, to pledge their allegiance to him, and to rejoice in his coronation. But eventually this time came to an end and Jesus took his seat on his throne and began to rule – He ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God Almighty, there to rule until all his enemies are subdued beneath his feet. The Father said to Jesus, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.”
And it is sitting on the throne of His father David, sitting at the right hand of God Almighty, that Jesus continues to reign even now and will continue until he has subdued all his enemies beneath his feet. Jesus is Lord! Jesus reigns! Let the earth be glad and the righteous rejoice! And so we are instructed to pray that God’s kingdom come, his will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. We are told to pray for the expansion of Jesus’ rule, the full manifestation of His kingship in human history. For as Jesus’ kingship becomes increasingly acknowledged, light and life come in ever greater degrees.

And because Jesus is Lord, because Jesus is God’s anointed king, the only way that we can come to God is by pledging our loyalty to Jesus. He who honors the Son, honors the Father; he who does not honor the Son, does not honor the Father who sent him. This morning we have been summoned into the presence of God Almighty; let us kneel as we enter his presence and pledge our allegiance through His Son Jesus.

The Ascended Lord and His Mother

May 12, 2013 in Ascension Sunday, Bible - NT - John, Meditations, Parents, Ten Commandments

John 2:5 (NKJV)
His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
Today is Ascension Sunday. While Ascension Day was actually last Thursday, 40 days from the celebration of Easter, in our congregation we have yet to celebrate on Thursday and delay our celebration until today. On Ascension Sunday we remember the momentous event in the life of our Lord when he ascended up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of the Father, as the exalted Ruler over all creation. On Easter Sunday Jesus was crowned King of All; on Ascension Sunday he entered into his rule. And the fruit of his reign was shortly seen – for next Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, the day we celebrate that the ascended Christ poured out His Spirit to empower the Church for witness.
Providentially today is also Mothers’ Day and so I though it would be fitting to remember that our Lord Jesus, the very one who is seated at the right hand of the Father, the ruler over all the Kings of the earth, had a mother and honored his mother.
One of the greatest tests of Jesus’ honor for his mother came at the very beginning of his earthly ministry, at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. We can imagine the temptation that Jesus faced when Mary urged him to assist the bridegroom in supplying wine for his wedding guests. We know that her request was presumptuous – for Jesus felt compelled to correct her. And yet; and yet, Mary is confident that her son will honor her request and so she speaks the words in our text today, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”Mary knew the character of her son and knew that he would do this for her. And Jesus doesn’t disappoint. He turns the water into wine and so begins his public ministry.
There is an important lesson here for children, especially sons, and that principle is this – even when Jesus’ mother asked something that was inappropriate given the circumstances, Jesus honored her and did what she requested. And if our Lord Jesus, He who is the exalted Lord of all, honored his mother by granting her request even when it was untimely, then how much more ought we children to honor our mothers when they make requests of us? In so far as we are able, let us fulfill the requests of our mothers – for Jesus has gone before us.
Too often, however, we are too full of ourselves to sacrifice and die to our own desires on behalf of our mothers. We think of what our mothers are to do for us rather than what we are to do for them. And certainly in this we mimic much of our broader culture. Motherhood, despite the tradition of Mother’s Day, has fallen on hard times. Mothers are despised and neglected, often disrespected. But God calls us to something different.
So today let us confess to God that we have not treasured motherhood and our own mother as we ought. Let us kneel as we confess our sin to the Lord.

Ascension Sunday

May 21, 2012 in Ascension Sunday, Bible - NT - Ephesians, Ecclesiology, Meditations

Ephesians 4:7-8, 11-13
7
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” …11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
Today is Ascension Sunday. Ascension Sunday celebrates – along with Christmas, Epiphany, Good Friday, Easter, and Pentecost – one of the most pivotal events in the life of Christ and, hence, in the history of the world. On this day, Jesus ascended into heaven and took His seat of authority at the right hand of God Almighty, ruling there as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And from this position of authority, He sent forth His Spirit upon His disciples – an event we shall celebrate next week in Pentecost.
In our text today, Paul indicates one of the implications of the Ascension for the people of God. When Christ ascended on high, was enthroned in state, sat down at the right hand of God Almighty, he was then the victorious conqueror, in a position to distribute spoil among his followers. “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.”
And what is the nature of the gifts he bestows upon His retainers? Ah his gifts are numerous and glorious – for His gifts are not merely objects but persons. He gave apostles and prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers – from other places we learn that he has given helps, works of mercy, humility, joy, contentment, peace, self-control, wisdom, virtue. Glorious gifts He has bestowed on His retainers.
Why? Why has he given these things? Here is the startling message of Paul. He has given them “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” In other words, the gifts that Christ has given to us are to be given in turn for the benefit of the whole body, for the Church.
So what does Ascension Sunday mean for us? First, we must take note of the gifts that our great King has granted to us. What gifts has the exalted and enthroned King bestowed upon you? He does not leave anyone out. If you have been baptized into Christ then you have a gift bestowed upon you by your heavenly King. Second, having acknowledged the gifts, our first response should be to thank the Giver. Jesus Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father and poured out gifts upon the Church; he has poured out some gift on each of us; and so our calling is to thank Him both for the gifts which He has given me personally and for the gifts He has given to my neighbor– our Lord Jesus thank you for calling the Twelve and giving them to the church; thank you for Paul, for Athanasius, for Clement, for Gottschalk, for Helena, for Ethelberga, for Zwingli, Bullinger, Peter Martyr. And coming closer to home, we say thank you for George and Freddy and Sally and  – for the gifts you have given them so they might bestow them on the body. Having recognized the gifts and given thanks to Him for the gifts that He has bestowed upon us and upon the rest of the body, our final task is to use the gifts He has given us for the body. Our calling is to imitate our King and give gifts in turn. We cannot serve Christ in isolation; we cannot serve Him apart from being integral members of a local church where we can use our gifts to bless our brethren.
But frequently our attitude and actions are far from this. Frequently, we complain that we have not been given the gifts that others have received and we endeavor to horde the gifts, increasing our own cache rather than blessing the body. Reminded of this, let us kneel and confess our sins to Him.